The Indiana Fever began their bid for the 2008 WBNA Championships this past weekend, playing against the Detroit team many think has the best shot at the title. With one win and one loss, the two teams move to a determining final game in this round of the playoffs on Tuesday evening.
While energy and crowd involvement at Friday's home game was at a high, the Fever weren't able to get a win.
"We had great momentum, but we played, maybe, well in my opinion, one of the greatest teams in WNBA playoffs," said Fever coach Linn Dunn after Friday's loss. "If we don't upset, they may be champs.”
During Friday's game impressive plays were made by Fever's Ebony Hoffman, who finished with 19 points, and Shock's Deanna Nolan, who finished with 22 points.
“It seemed like every time we would get a big run, Deanna Nolan would return with big shots,” Dunn said.
"She was a key to the game. Nolan stepped up and made big shots," Dunn said.
"Hoffman took the game to another level, but we have got to get help from someone else too,” Dunn said. "We need to do something to slow down Nolan.”
Friday's Fever star was in agreement with Dunn in regards to Nolan.
"We threw everything we had at her, but she still split us open," Hoffman said. "The league has got great players, but it's about slowing great players down.
"It comes down to each player. It came down to the little things tonight and we fizzled out by the end," Hoffman said.
When the two teams met again on Sunday in Detroit, however, the Fever achieved their first win over Detroit since 2006.
Fever won 89-82 in overtime with Tamika Catchings' double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds. Deanna Nolan forced the game into overtime when she hit a three-pointer with six seconds left. Fever then managed to maintain a lead with consecutive three-pointers by Ebony Hoffman and Tully Bevilaqua.
Hoffman finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds; Tammy Sutton-Brown had 19 points for Indiana.
Shock's Plenette Pierson finished with 16 points and seven rebounds and Nolan also finished with 16 points. Indiana and Detroit are now tied as they enter the third and final game of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Game 3 will be played at Detroit Tuesday, 7 p.m.
If Fever wins Tuesday they will play either Connecticut's Sun or New York's Liberty. Who Fever will play depends on the outcome of Game 3 for Sun and Liberty who will play tonight at Connecticut, 7 p.m.